Did Tor Start Crowdfunding To Reduce US Government Funding?

2 minute read

Posted by: Benjamin Vitáris </a></span>

December 3, 2015

In order to raise money for the browser, the Tor Project started a crowdfunding campaign. This could raise even more funds to the project, and if Tor will have enough of that, it could mean they could reduce their dependence from the US Government. This is important for them since 80-90% of the funding is from the United States governmental institutes.

Since the Tor browser is one of the pillars of the dark web, it is essential for it to keep funded. The software is used to stay (somewhat) anonymous on the dark net and access websites that you can’t on the clearnet. Most people think that the browser is only used by criminals, however, it is not true. Important governmental agencies all across the world are using Tor to cover their secret work, even journalist use the software to remain anonymous while doing their work. A great example for a “legal” Tor user is Laura Poitras, the Oscar-winning director (best documentary) of Citizenfour, the Edward Snowden documentary and the face of Tor’s new fundraising effort. She made this statement about the Tor Project and the browser’s use for her:

“Before Snowden, as a journalist, I knew that I had to be careful, but didn’t quite know how to protect myself … I knew I needed anonymity, but didn’t know what tools to use…

By my third email from him, I was communicating on Tails with a computer that I bought with cash, checking it only from public places. I was using the Tor Browser for all of my research, and to verify the information I was hearing…

Edward Snowden would not have been able to contact me without Tor and other free software encryption projects. Journalists need Tor to protect their sources and to research freely.”

There is no implication that the US Government is trying to control Tor or trying to corrupt it, however, more funding sources for the browser could mean more independence for the project.

For those who may not know, the Tor Project was firstly launched by the US Navy and DARPA. The latter meanwhile created MEMEX, a search tool set designed to help law enforcement agencies to uncover the users who use the anonymous browser.

Tor’s relationship with the US Government is both complex and weird. Many agencies of the nation are using the browser for their work, however, there are also institutes that are against the Tor Project, since its anonymity. Earlier this month, CMU (Carnegie Mellon University) was accused of accepting $1 million US dollars from the FBI in order to deanonymize Tor users. The university has denied the fact that they received money from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

If you would like to support the Tor Project. you can do so via their donations page. They accept donations in the form of Bitcoins, PayPal, paper cheques and bank transfers.

Updated: 2015-12-03